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Minnesota's first pet food shelf is opening this weekend

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A Minneapolis-based nonprofit that aims to keep pet owners from surrendering their animals is opening the state's first pet food shelf.

People and Pets Together has been providing pet food to local food shelves since it started in 2009, the organization's website says. And starting this weekend it will offer a permanent brick-and-mortar location for pet owners who need help supplying food for their furry friends.

The pet food shelf, located at 3755 Bloomington Ave. S. in Minneapolis, is an expansion of the nonprofit's food security program. It will distribute pet food to "qualified clients" living in nearby neighborhoods, the website notes.

The pet food shelf will operate like a pet supply store, so owners will be able to choose what food they want, FOX 9 reports. However, clients will have to attend a short orientation about pet nutrition choices before they can take any food home, the news station says.

People and Pets Together, formerly The Pet Project, also distributes pet food to nine area food shelves, runs several vaccination clinics every year, and distributes small grants to veterinary clinics to help subsidize pet care costs for people in need.

The cost of caring for an animal is among the top reasons people get rid of their pets, so the hope is that providing these services will help keep owners from surrendering them.

Several other organizations provide similar services. The Humane Society has a list of national and local organizations that try to assist pet owners who struggle to pay for costly veterinary procedures, medications and pet food, among other things.

People and Pets Together's pet food shelf opens Sunday, with a grand opening event from 1-4 p.m. that will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, prizes, and people food from Camp Cheesecake and Marla's Caribbean Cuisine.

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